Zimbabwe’s Ex-Lawmaker Faces Assault Charges

Munyaradzi Febion Kufahakutizwi has been accused of damaging a car and attacking a ruling party supporter

by Victor Adetimilehin

A former opposition MP in Zimbabwe has been accused of damaging a car and attacking a ruling party supporter at a funeral.

Munyaradzi Febion Kufahakutizwi, who represented the Mabvuku-Tafara constituency for the CCC party, appeared in court on Friday. He denied the charges of malicious damage to property and assault.

The court heard that Kufahakutizwi and his accomplices allegedly targeted a vehicle belonging to Patrick Chitemba, a Zanu PF member who was campaigning for the December by-elections. 

According to the prosecution, Kufahakutizwi instructed his accomplices to smash the rear window of Chitemba’s Toyota Hiace with wooden sticks, saying “These pastors for ED [President Emmerson Mnangagwa] only know hunger, destroy that car.”

The incident happened on November 21 last year at Kamunhu Shopping Centre in Mabvuku, a suburb of Harare.

Another Zanu PF supporter accused Kufahakutizwi of assaulting Michael Nyasulu at a funeral in Mabvuku on November 18.  Nyasulu was allegedly wearing a Zanu PF cap when Kufahakutizwi grabbed him by the collar and punched him, accusing him of throwing stones at the mourners.

Nyasulu managed to escape and reported the matter to the police, leading to Kufahakutizwi’s arrest. The magistrate postponed the trial to March 6 and released Kufahakutizwi on bail.

Political Tensions

The case of Kufahakutizwi is one of the many examples of political violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe, where the opposition and civil society activists have faced harassment, arrests and torture by the security forces.

Nelson Chamisa, who leads the CCC party, claimed that the 2018 elections were rigged and refused to recognize Mnangagwa as the legitimate president. The party has also boycotted the by-elections, saying that the electoral reforms are not adequate to ensure a free and fair vote.

The Zanu PF party, which has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, has accused the opposition of being agents of foreign powers and trying to destabilise the country. The party has also cracked down on dissenting voices within its own ranks, expelling some of its members for allegedly plotting against Mnangagwa.

Hope for Dialogue

Despite the political deadlock and the economic crisis, some Zimbabweans have expressed hope for dialogue and reconciliation between the rival parties.

Last month, a group of prominent Zimbabweans, including former cabinet ministers, academics, church leaders and civil society activists, launched a platform called the National Convergence for Unity and Peace (NCUP).

The NCUP aims to facilitate dialogue among various stakeholders and to promote a common vision for the future of Zimbabwe. The group has also called for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the US and the EU on some Zimbabwean officials and entities.

The NCUP has received support from some regional and international bodies, such as the African Union, the Southern African Development Community and the United Nations.

However, both Zanu PF and CCC have not yet endorsed the initiative, saying that they have their own conditions for dialogue.

Source: The Herald

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